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OSBA Launches Statewide Campaign Urging a No Vote on State Issue 1

The campaign is aimed at educating voters about the perils of Issue 1

The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) today launched a statewide campaign urging Ohio Voters to reject State Issue 1 this November. 

“While many agree that Ohio’s drug laws merit change, Issue 1 is the wrong solution,” said OSBA President Robin Weaver.  “Issue 1 will lock poorly-written policy into the Ohio Constitution, and strips Ohio judges of their discretion in sentencing drug offenders. The Ohio State Bar Association strongly urges Ohioans to vote no on Issue 1.”

The OSBA supports a strategy of treatment in lieu of conviction to curb Ohio’s opiate crisis, especially through Ohio’s drug courts and specialty docket programs, but Issue 1 goes too far. It makes possession of even deadly drugs, like fentanyl, a misdemeanor, and without the threat of jail time to compel offenders into court-run treatment programs, it is significantly less likely that addicts will get the help they need.

“Issue 1 takes away important tools from Ohio judges that are saving lives,” Weaver said. “Issue 1 would decimate the good work being done in Ohio drug courts and could actually worsen Ohio’s drug crisis.”

In addition, the OSBA maintains that specific and complex criminal law changes should be addressed through the legislative process, which would not alter the Constitution.

“Fixing the problems and unintended consequences that will surely arise if Issue 1 were to pass would require another Constitutional amendment approved by voters,” Weaver added. “This is an expensive, time-consuming process with uncertain outcomes, that will greatly hinder the ability of law enforcement and policy makers to respond to Ohio’s ongoing opiate crisis.”

The OSBA’s campaign is aimed at educating voters about the perils of Issue 1.  Specifically, it targets ticket-splitting, highly-likely voters in the November election. The OSBA today unveiled, a website focused specifically on Issue 1, featuring a 30-second spot. The spot will also run statewide on digital platforms starting this week. The OSBA will also sponsor two tele-town halls with Ohio voters between now and Election Day.

The OSBA urges voters to join Ohio’s judges, prosecutors, and treatment experts in voting no on Issue 1.

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